You could have knocked me down with a mosquito’s wing
Thursday morning huddle, affectionately called cuddle, the last one of the week and the most important. Just like Biggest Loser, Thursday is last chance work out and Thursday cuddle is where you find out how hard you’re going to have to work to hit your weekly targets. In my case that is almost certain to be very hard, or so I thought.
When Maddie went through the team league I wasn’t exactly hopeful of being anywhere but bottom with the possible exception of wrap time where I’m confident of being in the top three. My face was already arranged in apologetic mode as Maddie started reading through the scores and I was hoping I wouldn’t do something stupid and embarrassing like cry if she told me off. Lets face it it’s humiliating enough being told off by someone younger than your eldest child without compounding the issue by bursting into tears. I coughed a couple of times so I could pretend to have a coughing fit if the worst happened and I felt anything trying to leak out of my eyes.
You could have knocked me down with a mosquito’s wing, never mind a feather, when I wasn’t bottom. Not even second from bottom. Both Eloelia and Tom were below me and I was actually lowest wrap for the week.
“Well done FG,” Maddie said and everyone clapped. I still had to fake a coughing fit because I almost cried with relief. Then it dawned on me that I’d still have to work hard because Eloelia and Tom would be desperately trying to leapfrog me before Monday. Does the pressure ever stop in this place?
A reprise of the colour wheel
“Team talk today,” Panda said this morning when we were loading up our systems.
“Oh ” I said. I didn’t have a clue what team talk was but she seemed pretty pleased about it. “What is it?”
Turns out every four weeks we get a whole afternoon off the phones. It’s meant for training on new products or team building exercises. Everyone loves it because it means time off the phones. Time off the phones is like gold dust in the Mad House. All through the morning Panda kept looking at the big screens that tell us how many calls are in the queue and show the latest product deals.
“I hope it isn’t cancelled,” she said, over and over again. Apparently, if call volume is too high team talk gets cancelled which means everyone spends all morning on edge.
Our luck was in and team talk went ahead. After lunch we all went up into one of the training rooms on the top floor with an air of the school trip about us. Lots of chatter and laughing but the training room was a little too recent a memory for me to really enjoy it. Still, it was a relief not to have a head set on and a customer in my ear.
The training session was all about customer types and colours. Exactly the same one I did just a few weeks ago but I pretended it was all new to me for fear of being sent back down to the phones. Actually the trainer, a big Irish guy called Calum, made it far more interesting second time around. He was way more laid back than Jas and Dev, full of jokes and a little bit flirty. I’m pretty sure Rae has a bit of a crush on him. It was probably the best afternoon I’ve had in my whole time at the Mad House. If only every day could be like that.
Christmas shopping madness
Now Mini Commando’s birthday is over and done with it’s time to think about Christmas. Shopping for presents to be precise. Seems to me Christmas would be so much nicer if we didn’t have to do the present thing. Everyone goes out and spends loads of money they don’t really have to buy people things they don’t really want. Wouldn’t it just be more sensible to each buy ourselves a present?
Sadly that’s not the way it works so this morning we went into town. Sunday seemed like the best day to do it, we thought it would be quieter. Turns out shopping in town this close to Christmas, even on a Sunday, is a bad idea. Mini Commando was after a play station game, one of those shooting everything that moves, stealing cars type of things. It’ll probably turn him into a delinquent but he is twenty now so at least he won’t be a juvenile delinquent.
Game was like an asylum, hardly room to move there were so many smelly, raggedy looking teenaged boys bouncing around pouncing on games and so many parents with glazed eyes wandering listlessly looking totally lost. I was one of the latter. It took me ages to find the stupid game and when I did the queues were so long I almost wished I hadn’t. The queues moved so slowly I felt as if I was going backwards and then the skinny lad behind the counter with the piercings and tattoos glanced at the box and said, “not sure we have any more of these in stock.”
What’s the point of having the empty boxes on the shelves if you don’t have the actual games to fill them? He handed the box to another lad, or it may have been a girl I couldn’t really tell, with purple spiky hair and he or she went off to have a look. About four hours later the purple haired one came back with the box, complete with game inside. “You’re lucky, that’s the last one,” he or she mumbled.
It was the only present I bought. By the time I got out of the shop all I wanted todo was go home and have a lie down. Goodness know where Commando had been but he had lots of mysterious looking carrier bags. Somehow I think I got the short straw.
My Salvador Dali poster sums it up nicely
What a waste of a day off. The only reason I got through four ten hour shifts was the thought of the three day weekend ahead. So, what did I do with it? Mostly I slept. When I wasn’t sleeping, I was dozing or staring into space. Maybe the team night out played a part. All those blasted Jäger bombs. Maybe I was hung over. Not being a drinker I don’t know all that much about hangovers and I don’t intend getting better acquainted with them.Personally I think the ten hour shifts played their part. Ten hours of stress, four days a week is very tiring. Seems to me having three days off a week is a bit pointless if you spend one of them asleep. How on earth am I going to do this week after week?
I was so tired and lethargic I forgot the Friday weigh in, that’s two weeks in a row with no weigh in now. Still, I don’t imagine there would have been anything I wanted to see on the scales this morning not after all those Jäger bombs last night. How many calories in a Jäger bomb I wonder? Probably millions. Google was a tad confused on the matter when I tried to look it up, lots of answers but no two the same. Even on the best estimates though I reckon I drank about six hundred calories. It’s all very well watching what you eat but it can all fall apart if you don’t watch what you drink too.
Team night out
The weekend started tonight with my first ever team night out. Frankly, after ten hours on the phone dealing with everyone’s problems and being shouted at on a regular basis I just wanted to go home but, in the interest of fitting in and not seeming like a miserable cow, I went along.
We all left work together and walked up to Bedford Place to a bar I’ve never been to before. Let’s face it, there are very few bars I have been too. The atmosphere was jovial, like end of term, everyone laughing and joking, moaning about horrible calls they’d taken and generally acting silly.
Rory handed me a dark drink in a short stubby glass.
“What is it?” I asked suspiciously, not being a drinker and all. I’d asked for diet coke but this was most certainly not any kind of diet coke I’d ever seen.
“What’s that? Is it alcoholic?”
“Not really. You need to drink it back in one.”
Well that was never going to happen. I sipped. It tasted like cough medicine. I looked around for somewhere to dump it but there was no way of doing that without someone seeing me so I tried my best not to screw up my face too much while I drank it. Maybe the knocking it back in one would have been a good idea, at least I wouldn’t have had to taste it for long.
Before I’d even finished it Robbie was shoving another one in my hand. In the first half hour I’d had three and by that time I was past caring what it tasted like. At some point Panda pointed out I still had my pass card round my neck which might have made me feel like an idiot had I not been trying to work out how to stand up straight at the time. Kate, who had not been drinking at all because she was driving, gave me a lift home. We left at about ten, taking Panda with us. Goodness knows how long the rest of them stayed out, they were talking about going on to another bar.
The Jäger bombs had made me drunk but I was oddly wide awake. When I got home, Mini Commando explained they are made with red bull which explained why I found it impossible to get to sleep. Being drunk is a feeling I hate, especially when the room is spinning. Even worse when you can’t sleep. I’m not entirely sure I like team nights out.
Three ten hour shifts under my belt and it isn’t getting any easier. I’m going through the days in a haze of exhaustion barely functioning as a human being. The only thing keeping me going is the thought of Friday and a day off. Oh and a wage packet at the end of the month.
This afternoon the rain came down with a vengeance. It pounded on the office windows so loudly even I was pulled from my zombie like state by the sound. It was like being inside a waterfall but behind glass, nothing of the city was discernible through the deluge. At eight, when I’d put down the phone on my final call of the day it was still coming down thick and fast and I wondered how I was going to get to the bus stop. Rae came to the rescue. She had parked in the car park opposite and offered me a lift home. Even then we both got soaked just getting to the car and a person can only get so wet. Still, it did save me wading to the bus stop and I got home much earlier than usual. Bless her heart.
Kicking out time at the call centre
My first ten hour shift. That felt like the longest day in history of world. The time did go faster than I expected, mainly because there is so little time to actually think about anything but the person on the other end of the phone. Every call feels like an unexploded bomb, you just don’t know what you’re going to get or when it’s all going to blow up in your face but maybe that’s just me. Panda keeps telling me it gets easier but I find that hard to believe. Continue reading
Happy birthday Mini Commando
My last weekend before the ten hour shifts start and it was all I could think about. Nine to five thirty at the Mad House and I’m exhausted at the end of each day, how on earth am I going to manage another two and a half hours? The thought of it coloured my day, as I went about the housework, making a shopping list, struggling up the Big Hill in the stormy morning, cooking meals for the week in the afternoon, all I could think about was the week ahead. Continue reading
Meeting pod where everyone can see you
About an hour before lunch time Maddie told me to log off. It was time for my one to one. My heart was in my mouth as I followed her to the pod with glass walls and a glass door so everyone can see you in there. I’m pretty sure my legs were shaking. Continue reading
Colourful slippers on the German Market
Today the Christmas lights were switched on in town. We missed it, although we did go to look at the German market. What is it about us and Christmas lights? For all my bah humbug I do like the Christmas market, lots of little stalls with all sorts of interesting things, handmade wooden toys, scarves, slippers, jewellery. There is mulled wine and German sausages, the smell alone has probably made me put on a pound or two. Continue reading